Thursday, March 15, 2018

Bringing in the Spring

Happy Thursday dear ones.  I've just finalized my Spring ten item wardrobe so I'm hoping to share that with you soon, but in the meantime, I've been working on bringing some of this glorious near-springtime life into my home through tweaks and such.  I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I like to accomplish this time of year, ways I like to decorate for this season, and a few other random Spring essentials today, along with a few photos of the home right now.  Because who doesn't love a good Spring cleaning and house/life tweaking this time of year? I  know for me personally, I've been trying to regroup a little bit, in the vast spectrum of life.  Though in all fairness, I've been saying that since my Daddy passed away so it's just a process apparently.  Life hasn't been the same and I suppose you could say that I'm still adjusting, but also trying to smooth out the wrinkles and begin anew with this beloved season of the year.  I made a brief blog list the other day, of all things I had been doing, or planned on still doing for my version of Spring cleaning. (For me, it includes so much more than simple cleaning.)  I thought I'd share my list on the off chance that you might enjoy the motivation!

 I so enjoy a cheery welcome.  It feels a bit much for this space, long term, but just right for  Spring, with it's soft colors, collected pretties and pop of Janet Hill artwork.

 Ways to bring the outside in: 
*Foliage clippings (As seen all through my home, above)
*Forced branches (From my front yard tree- hoping to get some  blooms by Easter!)
*A sweet spring printable (I have this one in green, hanging in the main bathroom and I love it. And, it's free!)
*Grow some wheat grass in containers for inexpensive greenery- (it grows really quickly so keep that in mind.)

Spring checklist for overlooked chores: (Obviously, a good deep cleaning would precede these) This is just a feel good list.  Especially the orderly purse part!
*Clean tops of furniture and shelves
*Dust all light fixtures, including bathroom vanity lights
*Wash all decorative pillow covers, hanging curtains, shower curtains and rugs
*Clean and re-caulk around tubs and sinks
*Clean and organize your purse (hint, use small pouches to create kits for like items such as cosmetics or coupons, etc.)
*Organize your makeup and beauty products.  (Clean and wipe off tops, wash brushes, toss old products and consider tidying everything in a small organizing container like this one above, that I found at my grocery store for under $10) (I know I have a lot! I love products.)
*Clean sunglasses and invest in a protective case to keep future scratches at bay

Just for fun: 
*Try a new table centerpiece, and keep it really simple. (Or even remove everything from the table top and make food the centerpiece as you gather with loved ones.) (If you're looking for a pretty flower arrangement for Easter, I posted how to create one, here) 
*Move one piece of furniture or artwork into a new space in your home (I moved a small painting from another room into my dining area and have been loving it there. I wasn't getting the chance to daily enjoy it's beauty where it was located previously, so it's been like having a new piece of art!)

Feel good self-care: 
*Open windows for a Spring breeze
*Take a box of donation items to the Goodwill
*Buy a new spring blouse (I scored this pale pink one from a consignment shop for $4!)
*Try a bright lip color (I recently tried red and was surprised how much I liked it. You just never know!)
*Give yourself a good home manicure, weekly (I am religious about this habit.  I always make time someplace in the week for this!)
*Make a healthy treat and really savor it
*Put your favorite music on while making dinner to turn a chore into a treat
*Make a double batch of a favorite meal at once, and freeze one pan for a busy night or a friend in need
*Take time for a weekly face mask, as our skin sheds it's wintry dryness
*Keep projects simple (I love these kraft berry baskets, (Amazon) above, for simple little place settings for kiddos at Easter)
*Make a car bag with Spring essentials and emergency items- include an umbrella for spring showers, light gloves for chilly mornings and evenings and some healthy snacks to have on hand for those busy times

Overall, the things I've include force one to carve out and embrace the gift of time. Time for self, time for loved ones, time for home... One of the other gifts I am giving myself this year, is the gift of less.  Less pressure, less doing, less clutter all around (see previous spring organizing post series) and less holiday chaos. My Easter table this year will be nearly bare compared to previous years but that feels like a gift in it's simplicity.  My walls have less and less on them and that is a gift to my eyes to rest.  I created a large creamy canvas with my word of the year, "breathe" on it and even that is a gift in it's reminder to stop, inhale and be quietly present in the right now.  This is a time and season of heart renewal for so many of us and this post and list is really about renewing, while doing it intentionally, simply and bringing in the Spring...  

Saturday, March 3, 2018

How to be a prepared sports mom

I can hardly believe that we're already into the start of spring sports season! This, coming after a weird week, with snow, hail and rain.  Alas... spring sports are upon us. I've always felt like there should be a book for high school sports moms.  There should be a section for each sport, telling us what we need to know about rules and what's involved in training, etc, how to cheer and not look like an idiot, great ways to snap action shots of our kids, ways to be prepared, meals to make ahead during the on-season that give kids great carbs and nutrition, and ways to manage the variety of household schedules so everyone is on the same page since dinners together aren't something that come easily, tips for dealing with other parents and non-awkward small talk ideas... just ALL of it.  
Though a survival mom book like that may not exist to my knowledge, (If it does, hit me with it ASAP please)  and I can't help much with the non-awkward small talk part since I am THE MOST AWKWARD small-talker, I thought it might be fun to share how I stay organized and prepared during the sports season when it comes to packing an emergency bag. (I may write a follow up post and include a few more things... I think I have a great casserole recipe to share that takes moments to toss together, ahead of time too!)

I still remember the first all day track meet I ever went to, way back when Joe was in middle school.  I was so unprepared.  A couple of moms breezed into the bleachers in front of me wearing comfortable, yet polished layers, carrying bags filled with goodies, snacks and supplies, and stadium chairs that folded down neatly. (It was a little bit like being a hot mess in an airport, but then seeing the swan-like grace of a few flight attendants walk past you with their sleek luggage and clothing. Tell me you've had that moment, right?) 

I sat there shivering, my back aching, wishing I had a snack, a water and a better seat...  and I decided then and there, I was going to be much more prepared the next time I had to do this. Being prepared is really important for events that are located out of town as well.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is primarily a gathering of items I have personally needed and wished I'd had, or items that I used while we were in season.
Mom bag; 
I keep a canvas bag with my name on it, in our school colors, packed and ready at all times during the sport season.  It's always near the door and easy for me to grab. I got mine from LL Bean and they have a variety of sizes and options.  I keep a rolled up blanket, an emergency mini kit, a snack bag, gloves and baby wipes. (I also keep pompoms in there, because I'm that mom...)

Emergency kit- mini:
I have created mini kits for nearly everything in my life. You should know this about me by now.  In my big bag, I toss this tiny kit and use it nearly every single time we're out. (Clear bag set from Amazon, here) Being a prepared mom often comes down to creating kits like this ahead of time. I keep the following items pretty well stocked- I often add a few other items as needed but this is the general kit;

*Benadryl (I use the little sample containers that you can get from Sephora.  They are perfect for small amounts of medicine, but you could get small travel containers on Amazon.)
*Hand sanitizer
*Hand lotion
*Hair ties and bobby pins
*Nail File
*Extra socks

*Snack bag: I fill a ziplock with the following.  (If it's an all day meet, I tend to pack a picnic basket with a few ice packs- those can always come in handy by the way!)
*Justin's almond butter packets
*Granola bars (My son loves the RX natural bars from Trader Joe's. I haven't stocked up yet.)
*I'll often toss whatever fresh fruit I have on hand in at the last minute, such as grapes or bananas
*Sandwiches- Pb&J
*Waters or propel
*Thermos (for hot drinks)

On me... or in my car: 
*Sunglasses (Seriously keep a pair in the sport bag if you are forgetful because you'll always wish you had them!) (I love these pink Aviators.)
*A really great baseball hat.  Never underestimate the power of a cute hat on a bad hair day, or windy weather, or if you lost your sunglasses.
*Large beach towel for the car ride with wet or muddy people
*An extra trash bag or two (Perfect for muddy clothes or shoes, and so versatile.  You can line a seat or floorboards with them, carry gear in them, and even bag up trash from the bleachers for the team.
*Warm footwear- duck boots such as these, are my favorite! (Can't recommend these enough. I was so tired of my toes freezing.) I got mine on Amazon.  Best money every spent as a sports mom!
*Packable down coat (preferably long in length) This is a favorite of mine, and you can get them in all kinds of styles and varieties.  I like that mine packs into it's own pocket for space saving. I couldn't find my coat link, as it's been discontinued but this one is very similar.
*Clear Bubble umbrella (I love this one- it really works well in the wind and driving rain, which we have a lot of in the spring.  Since it's clear, I can see the event and stay under cover.)
*Stadium seats- we've got two collapsible ones like these, from Amazon, but I love this quick-fold down style best so that one's mine! 

Additional items you may want to keep on hand at home for post-sport recovery;
*Muscle rollers, like this one
*Deep Blue lotion, by DoTerra. (My boys all swear by it.)

After that first meet, I got my act together and I've been as prepared as possible ever since.  (I did learn the hard way, that always keeping baby wipes on hand, is just plain smart.)  Like all things in life, it's a lot smoother sailing, when you've prepared in advance and though we all can't think of everything all the time, being organized really does help.  I hope this post encourages you as you prepare for events  in your own life.  If you tend to be a well prepared person, we'd all love to hear any additional tips that have helped you get through those busy days, nights and weekends.  Please feel free to share with us, in comments! 

Monday, February 26, 2018

How to {simply} style a dresser

I have a major heart thing, for a pretty master bedroom space.  Goodness knows, I've shared about mine many a time!  Remember the stenciled wall that nearly killed me and how I talked about bedrooms needing to be havens, by adding luxe touches, here in this post? {I still adore this wall, by the way.} {In case you wondered. It's magical at night.}

Anyway, I decided to follow up the spring cleaning {organizing} series with a pretty and simple guide to styling your master bedroom dresser, in case you're still spring cleaning like I am, and looking for a few fresh home tweaks!  {I got a new lamp for $15 at an antique shop last month, which inspired me to change it up in here just a little, and simplify it a bit, which then, I decided was so pretty that we might as well blog about it. So here we are. Amazing how small changes can feel like big ones, when done correctly.}
 The wall color in here is the soothing and ever-popular Revere Pewter.  The trim is a crisp white.  The headboard is padded sweetly in gray linen that matches the bedskirt.  The bed is crazy comfortable, and the linens are swoony.  My furry sheepskin rug greets my morning toes, at the end of the bed, and I've incorporated varieties of textures and neutrals for a restful, soothing look.  I've also added some sparkle and let's face it, that's romantic.  I'm currently crushing on some new brushed brass pulls for these drawers... so you'll have to stay tuned to see if that happens.

When it comes to simple styling, there are varying definitions of "simple."  In my personal frame of reference, simple often means plenty of unused flat surface.  That said, I agree with many styling "experts" who suggest the following when it comes to styling any of your flat surfaces.  Odd numbers of accessories are best- groupings of threes or fives.  Incorporating something green, faux or living, if you've got a green thumb.  Layering varying heights of objects, and use of trays for smaller item grouping.

Styling is one of my favorite things. In all home decor tweaking, you need to put your own sweet spin on things. For my bedroom in general, I am currently loving the combination of mixed metals.  Silver and Gold {or rather, aged brass}.  I also really love using textures and wood grains throughout my home, so it's no surprise that this "feel" is making it's way into my personal haven as well. 

I love this rustic wood tray so I use it in here often. (It's a very old Target find.)  I stacked my jewelry boxes because they just look pretty like that.  I added a textured plant pot {$4 from Target} and an airplant that has surprised me by living years so far.  A tiny heart dish for discarded earrings completed that odd-numbered assortment.  Beside it, was a lamp, balanced slightly in height, by the stacked boxes... and because the tray reads as "one item" on the total surface space, adding a sparking mercury glass candle completed the overall odd-numbered gatherings of objects.  {Make sense so far?}

I tend to move pieces and play with arrangements until it has the right feel.  I can usually tell when something is lacking or just feels off. Removing something from the mix when it feels off, is normally my first reaction and it is also normally the correct choice in styling.

 This lamp was a crazy, exciting find.  I felt like I was robbing a store when they called the vendor for a price, {it wasn't marked} and he said, "Oh, how about $15?" I was like, "Okay I'll take it... quick... before anyone changes their minds... and don't make any sudden moves lady!" {Okay, maybe all but that last part...}

I swapped out the LED lights for some really soft, low watt bulbs, perfect for restful, evening lighting.  What a difference lightbulbs make.  And dimmer switches for overhead lighting.  A simple and quick thing, that can really create the mood you're looking for.

I'm slowly creating a little art collection in here, always on the lookout for pieces that I want to add and frames that work.  I'm on the hunt for the right frame for the middle piece.  I do love having something to hunt for!  In this vein, cultivating a collections of things on the walls that add to the feeling you're trying to create, when styling a flat surface is really important to consider. It all lends to the overall feeling of "just right" or "not quite." {I also love the look of collected baskets, hung in an abstract assortment also. I do believe wall-hung baskets are having a moment in home décor. I approve. Wall textures like that, can make it really easy to style a flat surface below or beside...}

And on a side note, I also believe bedrooms should be totally clutter-free for the most restful sleep and relaxation, which means a few surfaces, styled more or less, like this.  I do keep a pretty basket beside this dresser, and often tuck papers or books and things into it, rather than cluttering a bedside table. {Though let it be noted, books are not clutter.} {And stacks of books are a lovely thing indeed... I'm talking random papers and small items that need to be put away elsewhere.}

So a quick recap for you when styling a dresser:
*Add something sparkly, for the romantic feel.
*Think in not only colors, but also in textures.
*Make use of trays
*Add something green/alive to the mix.
*Place small dishes in the grouping, for pretty catch-alls.
*Exchange bulbs for ones that offer soft lighting if a lamp is included.
*Showcase jewelry in pretty containers.
*Remember the rule of odd numbers in object placement.
*Incorporate a variety of items, both old an new, for interest.
*Consider the artwork hanging around the area, making sure it doesn't detract from the simple styling.
*Remember that a quick change-out of hardware on the actual piece being styled, can update the over all look of the piece.

Happy sigh. I love this room whole heartedly and if I could, I'd curl up right in all these pillows right now.  Alas, real life calls... {Remember that time Adrain built this headboard?  I went back into my archives to link this post for you about the DIY of the headboard.. and about died laughing at how much as changed in just FOUR years time... with my kids, the exterior of my house and my bedroom colors and taste too!  That was back when I had a lot of yellow in my life.... Now my house is gray and my bedroom is way neutral.  I like it way better now. Just saying.} I love how changeable homes are. Make yours a haven. 


Friday, February 23, 2018

How to organize a family office and paper clutter {spring cleaning series}

Welcome back to this organizing, spring cleaning series!  Today's post is a final post and wrap up of this series.  We will discuss how to make a family office work efficiently with some organization, and how to manage the paper clutter that often builds within a family. Most of us are managing households, children and can probably all agree that the pieces of paper that pile up day, after day, can be overwhelming.  I'd love to show you what seems to work in our home.  I have teens in high school, but this same system worked when they were younger as well so I believe it can simplify your life and transition with you as time passes. 

I'm so thankful to my previous boss for sharing a few of these ideas- they aren't my original ideas, but I still remember the day she came to speak at a MOPS group I attended.  I didn't know that I would someday get to work for her, I just knew instantly that she was my person, as she shared about home organization.  She talked about the binder and the yearly envelope files I will share with you in this post.  I began using her ideas way back when I had preschoolers and it's worked so well that I've never tried any other system. 

**If you haven't read the kick off post, "How to organize anything," you'll want to flip backward and read that {here} first. That post is key, as it highlights the practical how-to steps needed to organize any space, room or mess. With papers, you'll swap out a recycle bin and possibly a shred bin, rather than donate or consign bins... you might also make a pile for "to be filed" and things such as that.  But the method of sorting and putting into categories is still the same idea as what I shared in the first post.  It's the method I use with every organizing job I do in my home, big or small and how I work, one drawer or one cupboard at a time.

As you can see from the top photo, we chose a desk with two small banks of drawers.  It was from Ikea, and functions very well for us, with a nice, large desktop.  We use a small bookshelf for the printer and a few bins and files.  More on that in a moment. 

This second above photograph shows how you can utilize small dividers for tiny office items.  I purchased a pack of valentine cards last month from Target, and loved the little tray they came in.  I repurposed it here, rather than tossing it out and it's perfect for random small items.  I said in a previous post, that I'd rather be a fresh and different voice in social media, one that shows ways of organizing by using what you have on hand, or repurposing things, rather than making a perfectly staged and picture perfect space.  That's not real life and it certainly doesn't have to be picture perfect to work functionally for a family.   
I do still use quite a few small acrylic trays (Amazon) and love the variety of sizes they come in... but every now and then, a simple box from the packaging of items, works just as well if not better.  And the price of free is always welcome. 

I am showing you all of the drawers on one side of the desk.  The other side belongs to my husband and he organizes by making (somewhat untidy) paper piles. Many, many piles. I gave him four drawers and a large bin for his piles.  I have learned to let him have his piles...  Ask that man where something is, and he knows... and heaven help me if I move any of them! 

Which moves us into Part two of this post... 

Here is a point I've not made in this series yet.  It most often comes up with offices and paperwork.  Organization isn't a one size fits all approach.  While I have a small bit of experience, I'm certainly not an expert, I merely love the topic. But some people have the capability of being fully aware of what they have in a pile, they cannot maintain files for the life of them.  (Some people have piles of forgotten things and are just a hot mess of paperwork they need to sort... this isn't what I'm talking about here.) My husband truly is organized in his own way. He has a bill paying system that scares the heck out of me, but we never miss a payment so it obviously works.  The tricky part is knowing which one you are, or those you live with are... people who are actually organized though it doesn't look like it because it's not your own organizing system... or those who need serious amounts of help and a system that actually works. 

Offices are a great place to determine this. 

Then move forward.  I'm only going to share our story and our system somewhat, but there are a lot of ways to adapt it to whatever your style is.  
You can see our "pending" bins above.  His was full at the time I snapped this, but a week later, it's almost totally empty.

(Apparently he did things with them over the week, and I have a "to be filed pile," sitting here for me to put away.) 
You may be wondering about our daily papers and the practical ways we move them around. In our home we have a mail bin that is hanging from the kitchen island. That's the first line of paper catching, as it greets us when we walk in from the garage.  Once that's all been sorted, receipts and bills get moved into the office (and into Adrain's piles someplace. I generally don't see them after this.)

All other papers find a home daily. Nothing builds up much, which is where a lot of people struggle. If you have places where things go, and they go there daily, you never have scary buildup waiting for you to deal with.  In our home, if it's a bill, Adrain takes it. If it's recycling, it gets tossed into the bin immediately.  If it's kid paper, household or medical things, I tend to take them and I'll share more on  how I manage those in a moment.  We have a locked file box for tax and household documents that seldom get accessed, and a "working file" bin next to the printer, in which I keep our papers neatly sorted- whatever he hands me when he is done often goes into some of those files.  We stay pretty on top of shredding and recycling.  I guess what I'll end this segment with is, when it comes to files, make certain you've got some, but too many are overwhelming, and not enough are frustrating.  Make sure you have logical categories and edit them regularly. 

The first photo in this Part two section, shows what I call our "Life binder."  It's got everything I'd ever need in a fire, streamlined and organized and is sort of the end of the line with household papers.  (Some good things to keep in a binder like this might be a list of passwords and logins, address book/phone numbers, emergency contacts, loose leaf paper, spare keys in binder pockets and Xeroxed copies of credit cards, passports and such. There are many more papers you might want to tuck in here... and even paint colors, house photos, inspiration pictures, etc.)  

If you have children in the home, this kind of system works well for a "working" file of their school year.  I like to keep a school calendar in the front flap, and a pocket divider for each child inside.  Every time they bring home important information about a sport or class, I pop it into their divider then everyone knows where to go if they need something.  I also grab programs from concerts or events we attend, photos snapped through the year, and anything they might want to keep for posterity.  I add those into the folder envelopes as the year goes along, and when a sport ends, I quickly edit the file and delete any papers that aren't needed anymore. 

Once we get to the end of the year, I pull everything out and tuck it inside a clear file envelope with their grade label clearly marked.  (I will show that in just a moment, and found mine at Office Max.) I also keep a list of all of their community service projects which I'm sure will come in handy when they are looking at colleges, (shown, below.) 

At the end of each school year, all of the saved papers, awards, teacher notes, report cards and photos go into one of these envelopes.  Each one is labeled by year and placed into a clear bin.  The bin stays on each child's closet shelf and if they need access to anything, they have an organized way to locate it. I can't even begin to tell you how much this has streamlined "mom life" for me.  Not to mention that they enjoy pulling out envelopes every now and then, and peeking backward at a year's accomplishments and memories. 
Whew!  This was a big finale post!  If you stayed with me to the end, congratulations.  I do hope you've enjoyed this large scale peek into my home and how I keep things rolling along.  It is so worth the effort, to begin digging in and getting things in order.  Living an organized life is so incredibly freeing.  You save money in the long run, because you always know what you have and where you have it.  You feel less stress, because of that as well.  If you have questions, I'd love them.  I can't believe this series is over!  If you've missed any, simply click on the post titles below, to jump back and read. 


Thursday, February 22, 2018

How I organize my hall/spare closet {spring cleaning series}

Welcome back to this organizing, spring cleaning series! 

If you haven't read the kick off post, "How to organize anything," you'll want to flip backward and read that {here} first. That post is key, as it highlights the practical how-to steps needed to organize any space, room or mess. It's the method I use with every organizing job I do in my home, big or small and how I work, one drawer or one cupboard at a time.

 In this home, we have one tiny, spare hallway closet.

In small homes, it's more about what's not stored, than what is... or rather how and where it's stored.  Because we live small, and I lean toward minimalism.  Each of the three beds in this home have a complete set of bedding.  One set.  The set that resides on that bed.  What works for us, is to wash our bedding, and put it right back on the bed that very day.  It's convenient because the only bedding ever getting stored are any extra, heavy blankets, in the summer months.  (Most of the time, those extra blankets get tucked away in the closet of the bed they belong to.  Right now I believe I have more bedding in this room than I ever do, but we are soon to transition to two teenage boys sharing a room, and I've got an extra set in here for that... I've also got one extra set of sheets for an air mattress/cot that we pull out for guests.  The white comforter is actually Ava's but she was in the middle of a room project and asked me to just temporarily store it in here for the time being.  It's since been moved back into her room.  I've also got one sweet pillow that doesn't have a home currently, but I don't care to part with it yet as I am thinking through where it wants to live.  That said, we often only have artwork, photos toys for littles who come visit, and sewing items stored in here.  And normally we even have a couple of empty shelves!

Now if this isn't your story, feel no guilt!!  We all have different styles, differing storage needs and some of us are way more willing to part with excess than others.  That's what makes us all so sweetly unique.  I'm simply sharing my story to inspire anyone who is bogged down with too much, and for perhaps sentimental reasons, or family guilt, is hanging on to things that are weighing them down.  Many of us long for a more free, minimalistic lifestyle but it's the getting there process that is both difficult and often painful.  If this series can help you work through one space at a time, and shake off some of that baggage, then that is my goal.  Not guilt if you like all your stuff and want to keep it.  (This series can hopefully help you make it all tidy and logically organized at the very least though!)

I can remember a time when I had stacks of bins for out of season decorations and décor that I didn't want to part with but wasn't being used or displayed in my home.  One day I just looked at it and went, "Why is all of this stuff living in this closet and not being used and loved? This makes no sense!" That was the catalyst for living differently for me, and I've never looked back.  It's taken me a few years of paring down our material items, but it has been so worth it... I no longer have décor in here because everything we love and use is being... loved and used, all through the home.  If you're overwhelmed by unused décor, let me encourage you that sharing with others, or donating it, can feel so good, you'll want to go back and get more items to shed!  Chances are, if it's not out being enjoyed, you're over it, past it, or no longer love it the way you once did anyway...  It can feel so good to bless someone else by letting go of things.

That said, being in different stages of life is a huge factor in what and how things are also stored in my home.  When my kids were small, I probably stored a lot more, because we had different needs.  I'll explain that more in a moment.
I shared this brilliant photo organization with you in this post if you remember... I still adore it. Taking a day to organize all of our photographs made my life better in so many ways that I'm still getting goodness from.  When the kids come home with an immediate need for a photo, I know right where to go and can find it in two seconds.  When I want one for a special occasion like a birthday, I can find it so quickly now.  (I recommend scanning that post if you're looking for a way to organize a lifetime of photographs in a snap.  It was a fun project as well.  All the details are in that linked post!)

I also keep my letter board letters in containers such as a clear, bead organizer box. (Amazon) I love seeing neat stacks of useful things.  It speaks deeply to my organized heart.  It certainly didn't happen overnight, but with dedication to getting this home downsized and organized, little by little, I tackled project after project and now I simply enjoy

Organization frees a person up to simply be, and enjoy life.  
It's difficult lighting and a very hard closet to photograph, so I was forced to take a variety of photos.  The folded robe is one that I got for free, after a Christmas gift shipping issue and I keep it for guests.  I figure that when/if mine ever gets too shabby, I'll have a  back up, but in the mean-time, my guests can enjoy this new one.  I launder and fold it after guests depart.  (I did take the time to find out how a hotel robe is often folded... it's the little things. Ha!)
This is my moveable sewing kit.  I used to have a big fancy one that I never used really.  It was filled with stuff I also didn't use, because I'm not a big fan of sewing.  If I wasn't petite, and needing to hem every single pair of pants I've ever purchased, I probably wouldn't even own one.  Anyway, I finally tossed the many thread colors I'd never use again, and kept the basics.  I store them in a pleasing, color-coded way (of course) in a bead organizer. (Those things come in so handy!!)  It's perfect for those little bobbins and small parts, too.  The whole thing fits neatly on top of a dollar bin.  Both are clear so I can see what I'm after, and make the job move seamlessly. (See what I just did there?) I keep the sewing machine manual and foot pedal in the bin, along with a few other random items like scissors and a pin cushion and a grommet maker.  When I need to sew, I grab both of these and head to the kitchen table.  (Obviously, if you're serious about sewing or quilting, this isn't for you... but this organizational system is really perfect for those of us who just have to hem our jeans every six months or so.)

The moral of this whole story, is that cramming our extra closets full of things for "just in case" or "I might need someday" might work for you... but it also might not.  If you feel your heart race with stress when you need to look for something buried in a closet, it's probably a good indication that you are due for some editing and organizing. 

You might be asking,  where I keep my craft items and holiday décor and if my garage is full.  Craft items are surprisingly minimal in my home.  I'm creative but I've never been "crafty."  I have stamps and paint in my desk drawers where it makes sense for them to be. (You'll see that in a post soon.) I have a hot glue gun and more household supplies in my utility drawers in the laundry room where they make sense to be and you can see the sewing items here... other than that, I'm not big on buying, storing and just having a ton of craft items. My kids are older and what they like to use, they keep in their own desks in their own rooms.  See what I mean by different stages of life?

As for holiday décor, I have one bin, (my kids each share a small bin for their own room trees and ornaments as well) and I love and prefer to use more fresh items as I get older, rather than keep and store decorations.  (There was a time when I had six or eight Rubbermaid bins... it was exhausting.  This is better.) And the garage... no it's not packed and ridiculous.  It's not my territory either, being mostly inhabited by bench pressing, dart throwing, weight lifting, poweraid drinking boys and men... they only tolerate just so much organizing out there, but it is streamlined and tidy and things have labels and spaces.  We park my car in there too.  The half where my man used to park before he owned his truck, has been turned into their gym space and they love it and use it daily.  We have big shelves and lots of free spaces on them.  I have one bin of memories from when my kids were babies and toddlers.  I know, one seems odd... but it's all I need.  It has their baby books, and small stacks of clothing that I plan to turn into graduation quilts for them in a couple of years.  "Why keep things just to keep them," has never been a thought I've struggled over.  I'm sentimental about some things. I'll keep the baby clothes, but the idea is to turn them into something useful.  Make sense?  That's the way my brain works. I daresay it is the same, for most people who are naturally wired to live a more minimalistic, organized lifestyle.  

I hope that helps you as you sort through your stored items.  As always, I love your questions and your comments bless me.  Our final stop on this series will be office and paper clutter!  I may be combining them into one bonus post! 

Click on the titles below, to see all the other posts in this series